A sweeping and unorthodox history of contemporary European politics
by Luuk van Middelaar

The Passage to Europe

European Book Prize

Winners Van Middelaar and Ralf Bauerdick with jury president Costa-Gavras Winners Luuk van Middelaar and Ralf Bauerdick with jury president Costa-Gavras

In December 2012, Le Passage à l’Europe won the prestigious Prix du Livre Européen in the essay category, beating in the final round both Jürgen Habermas’ Zur Verfassung Europas and Eugenio Scalfari’s Per l'alto mare aperto. The first selection was carried out by a sponsorship committee chaired by WTO director-general Pascal Lamy, which shortlisted seven titles out of dozens of books from across Europe; then a jury composed of Brussels correspondents of major European newspapers, presided by Greek-French filmmaker Costa-Gavras, picked the winners, one essay and one novel.

The award ceremony took place in the European Parliament in Brussels in the presence of the Prize’s founder Jacques Delors and of Helmut Schmidt. Earlier winners in the essay category include the late Tony Judt’s Postwar (2008) and Roberto Saviano, La bellezza et l’inferno (2010).

Read the inside account of how the jury battled between Passage and Haute mer.

Socrates Prize

Hors catégorie, they call this in cycling.
Like Messi in football.
This is how you must write!”

Socrates Prize jury

In April 2010, De passage naar Europa was awarded the Socrates Wisselbeker for the best and most original book of philosophy in the Dutch language, published in the previous year. The jury, composed of both academic philosophers and philosopher- journalists, praised the book’s style, qualifying it as “a new kind of philosophical novel”. The report concluded: “Van Middelaar not only makes us reflect better about Europe and political power, but also about our citizenship and about ourselves.” Read the full jury report here.

Academic awards

Award ceremony of the Prix Louis Marin, under the dome of the Institute in Paris. Award ceremony of a.o. the Prix Louis Marin, under the dome of the Institut in Paris

In 2012, the venerable Académie des Sciences Morales et Politiques in Paris awarded its annual Prix Louis Marin to Le Passage.

In 2010, the Dutch Koninklijke Hollandsche Maatschappij der Wetenschappen gave the book the D.J. Veegens Prijs, a biannual award in the field of social, political and economic history. Read the full jury report here.

In 2009, the author received the Otto von der Gablentz Studieprijs for it, named after the highly-respected former German diplomat, as well as the Dissertatieprijs for the best PhD of the year by the Faculty of Humanities, University of Amsterdam.